1 Samuel 10:10
When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met him. Then the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied along with them.
A Company of ProphetsB. Dale 1 Samuel 10:10
Saul Among the ProphetsHelen Plumptre.1 Samuel 10:10
King MakingR. Steel.1 Samuel 10:1-13
Saul Anointed by SamuelW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 10:1-13
The Appointment, of SaulP. Richardson, B. A.1 Samuel 10:1-13
The Discipline of a Promoted LifeJoseph S. Exell, M. A.1 Samuel 10:1-13
1 Samuel 10:10. (GIBEAH.)
This is the first mention of "a company (cord, chain, or band) of prophets" (Nabhis). There were previously individual prophets. And on one occasion the seventy elders prophesied (Numbers 11:25), and Moses said, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them." But until the time of Samuel there was no association or community, college or school, of prophets.

1. His language shows his intimate relation to this "company," of which he was doubtless the founder, and appears subsequently as president (1 Samuel 19:20); for it is not likely that there were now several such "companies," as in later times (1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3, 16; 2 Kings 4:38).

2. Its formation was due to a newly awakened religious life among the people, and intended as a means of deepening and extending it.

3. It arose about the same time as the establishment of the monarchy, and furnished a regular succession of prophets, by whom the word of the Lord was spoken for the guidance and restraint of the king. "Samuel saw the need of providing a new system of training for those who should be his successors in the prophetic office, and formed into fixed societies the sharers of the mystic gift, which was plainly capable of cultivation and enlargement. As it was a leading crisis of the dealings of God with men, unusual operations of the Spirit marked the time of Samuel; but they were not confined to him, though he is far the most conspicuous figure" ('Heroes of Hebrews Hist.'). Notice their -

I. SPIRITUAL CALLING. They are called prophets with reference to their vocation or profession. But this was founded upon an individual and inner call by the Divine Spirit. Dwelling on the high ground of Divine contemplation, they were often visited by breezes of spiritual influence to which others were strangers, borne along in an ecstasy beyond their own control, and impelled to give utterance to the overflowing feeling of their hearts; and some of their number were chosen by God to be the recipients of the gift of prophecy in the highest sense. Their calling represents that of the Christian ministry, and more generally the vocation of all Christians (Acts 2:17; Ephesians 5:18, 19).

II. FRATERNAL UNION. They formed a "company," a voluntary, organised society, apparently dwelling together in the same place, and pursuing the same mode of life. The bond of their union was the common spirit they possessed; and their association contributed to their preservation and prosperity, and their power over others. "They presented the unifying, associative power of the prophetic spirit over against the disruption of the theocratic life, which was a legacy of the time of the judges" (Erdmann). Of Christian union the like, and much more, may be said (John 17:21; Acts 2:46; Acts 4:23).

III. MUSICAL SKILL. "And before them a psaltery (cithara), and a tabret (tambourine), and a pipe (flute), and a harp (guitar);" stringed, percussion, and wind instruments of music (ver. 5; Genesis 4:21; Genesis 31:27; Exodus 15:20). They made a religious use of music, and cultivated it with great care. It prepared them for high and holy emotion (2 Kings 3:15), and gave appropriate expression to it. It strengthened the feeling to which it gave expression, regulated it, and stirred in others a similar feeling. Their sacred music was the germ of the splendid choral service of the temple in subsequent time.

"What passion cannot music raise and quell?
When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood around,
And wonder on their faces fell,
To worship that celestial sound

Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot music raise and quell?"


IV. PROPHETIC UTTERANCE. "And they shall prophesy." Poetry, like music, is the natural vehicle of strong emotion. And in it they recited and sang in an impassioned manner the praises of God, and the wonders which be had wrought on behalf of his people (1 Chronicles 25:1, 3).

V. POPULAR REPUTATION. The manner in which they were spoken of by the people generally (ver. 11) shows the important position they occupied, and the high estimation in which they were held. When the professed servants of God are so regarded -

1. It is an evidence of their worth and consistency. They commend themselves to "every man's conscience." If, being faithful to their vocation, they are despised, it only reveals the evil character of their despisers; and it is not honour, but shame, to be commended by foolish and wicked men (Luke 6:26).

2. It indicates the prevalence of a right sentiment in society.

3. It affords a favourable condition of bearing witness for God and successful spiritual labour. - D.

The spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
Suppose, now, you had come to school, thinking only of being the child of a cottager, and of earning your bread by hard labour all your days, and one upon whose word you could firmly rely came in and told you you were to be king over a mighty nation — with what feelings would you leave the school that day? Would not your thoughts and expectations be as entirely changed as if you were another child? And if, as you were leaving, you were able to speak, as it were, with a new tongue, and were endued with all wisdom and all knowledge, should we not be all ready to say you were another child? Thus was it with Saul. God gave him many gifts, but I hear not that He gave him grace — He gave him also another heart, but I read not that He gave him a heart renewed after the image of Him that created him. "And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them." There is something particularly solemn in this verse, and calculated to lead to great searchings of heart. Many passages of Scripture seem to point out that some poor sinners will have no idea of their mistake till they appear at the very bar of their God. Those of whom you read in Matthew 25:41-46, had no suspicion of their danger, and would fain, even then, have justified themselves: but of all the awfully self-deceived, those are the most so, who even think they have done much for Christ, and come to claim a reward, and find that neither they nor their works are acknowledged by Him. Those are not a few, but "many;" they had prophesied — cast out devils — done many wonderful things — but had never experienced that only saving wonder the being born again. Beware, there is something infectious in the outside of religion; even the love of imitation may lead to this, or a desire to keep in favour with a godly family; and I have known some conclude, of course such an one must be good, because he lives among such good people. Alas! alas! the secret tolling day shall disclose a different tale, and the Sauls and the Balaams shall stand forth in their true colours, to receive the due reward of their deeds

(Helen Plumptre.)

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